New vocations festival

Young Catholics will gather to look at their life choices at Invocation 2010, a  new festival for young adults to be held in the grounds of St Mary's College, Oscott from July 2 - 4.  Among the speakers will be Fr Christopher Jamison of Worth Abbey, featured in the series 'The Monastery', Sr Gabriel Davison, a Poor Clare nun from the community near Arundel, featured in the BBC's 'The Convent', Archbishop Vincent Nichols and  Dr Andrew O'Connell, from the Presentation Brothers in Ireland.

The festival is aimed at young men and women aged 16-35 who are interested in deepening their relationship with God, and who might be thinking of becoming priests or nuns. They will be offered advice, workshops, and time for prayer and reflection. In total over 300 people will be attending. Workshops will look at questions such as 'How will I know if I am doing the right thing with my life?' 'What is prayer?' 'What is vocation, what does it mean to my life?' 'Are you ready to answer a need of the present times?' and 'Are you ready to give an account of the witness in you?'

In September Pope Benedict XVI will visit Oscott College, where Cardinal Newman was confirmed. The event is being hosted by the Archdiocese of Birmingham, with support and cooperation from a number of organizations including the National Office for Vocation and Compass. It is the first event of its kind for the Catholic Church and its young people in England and Wales. In total around 100 priests and nuns will be at the festival, and will be there to talk, to listen, and to be witnesses to the young people.

Fr Stephen Langridge, Chairman of the Vocations Directors of England and Wales said: "Research from different parts of the world suggests that a major reason young people do not pursue a vocation is not that they did not hear Christ's call, but that they had no-one to talk to about it. They didn't know how to interpret that call...If Jesus is calling these young people, we want, above all, to make space for them to hear that call."

Archbishop Vincent said: "Each of us is called to grow and mature from an infancy of faith into a mature willingness - like Mary's - to be instruments not of our own ambition, but of God's will."

Sr Gabriel Davison" said: "I discovered that God wants us for who we are and not for what we can do and so my focus changed from 'doing' more to 'being'."

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